On the water

Sails, paddles and whale watching tours

Kayaking and paddle boarding are two great ways to enjoy the beauty of Whidbey Island. Bring your own watercraft and launch it from our beach. Or rent what you need from Whidbey Island Kayaking Company and have it delivered.

Holmes Harbor water safety

Playing it safe means having a plan. A few reminders:

  • Always check the tide charts to time your launch and return.
  • Plan your launches at medium to high tides. Our low tide sands are like quick sand—impossible to walk through.
  • Pay attention to currents and winds.
  • The water is cold and hypothermia is a risk if you fall in.
  • Sea waters are unpredictable. Always wear a lifejacket.

Count on Whidbey Island Kayaking Company​ in Langley

Located in nearby Langley, Whidbey Island Kayaking Company is open seasonally. They offer rentals, tours, and classes.

Inexperienced or young kayakers will enjoy their monitored paddle area. Practice kayaking for an hour or two—it’s a great way to learn. If you are ready for the harbor, they will deliver kayaks, tandem kayaks and paddle boards to A Home On The Harbor for a small fee. Rent for a day or multiple days. In addition, they lead short, half day, nighttime, and birdwatching themed tours.

Contact them to make reservations for your group. Call 360-221-0229 or email Whidbey Island Kayaking Company. And don’t be surprised if you encounter a hitchhiking seal.

Take tours with Captain Brett from Anacortes

Based in Anacortes, U.S. Coast Guard-certified Captain Brett is ready to show you the beauty of the shoreline and nature with his Deception Pass Tours. Take a unique ride on a seated open deck boat and enjoy a 360° unobstructed view as you cruise the waters of Deception Pass on a one-hour tour.

Look for wildlife such as bald eagles, seals, porpoises, and maybe an occasional whale. Learn the tales of characters who navigated these waters and the splendor of this National Historic Landmark. Charters and whale-watching tours, too. Children welcome.

Sail the Schooner Suva and paddle kayaks at the Coupeville​ Wharf

Enjoy a sail back in time on the 90 year-old Schooner Suva. Built in 1925 in Hong Kong of old-growth Burmese teak, this ship had just five owners in the Puget Sound area before being acquired by Coupeville Maritime Heritage Foundation.

Choose a leisurely two- to two-and-a-half hour cruise in beautiful Penn Cove or enjoy an all-day charter in nearby waters. You can even take a tour or book a private event on this historic ship. Suva sails mid-May through early October from the dock at Coupeville Wharf.

Kayak rentals are also available at the wharf with Wharf Dog Paddle Company.

Take tours from Port Townsend​

Puget Sound Express is a family-run tour operation with a fleet of four beautiful boats.  Book your tour for the opportunity of a lifetime to see our local whale pods in action.

Their four-hour whale-watching cruise departs Port Townsend. You can see humpbacks, orcas, and minkes. Their tour boat, Red Head, then heads out towards the San Juan Islands, or to wherever the whales are. This comfortable and fast ship seats 40 and requires a minimum of 15 passengers for departure.

Take the Port Townsend/Coupeville ferry to get to Port Townsend. If you are bringing a car, reservations are recommended. This is wonderful day trip from Whidbey Island!

Puget Sound Express also hosts bird watching tours and can design custom tours. Check their website for current information on their tours.